Cleft Rock Walk - 19th September 2004

James, Liam and I went out for a little driving and exploring around near Marysville, as well as planning to walk along the Cleft Rock Walking Track.

We turned off to highway at Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Ground, and headed down Dom Dom Creek Road, which was reasonably steep and slippery in the wet. We passed some walkers and then headed along Dom Dom Road and Fisher Creek Road, coming to the deep bog hole we had encountered on a previous trip. Somebody had put branches across the edge of the hole, as a warning to others and we managed to drive around without any problem. However, we came to grief on another rutted muddy hole around the corner, requiring the winch to get out.

We turned off Archeron Way up White Hill Track, which continued along towards Carters Gap though it wasn't marked on the map. The logging in this area changes the roads and my maps are way out of date.

We passed where Cleft Rock Walking Track intersects with the road, but there was absolutely no sign of any walking track, so we continued to the locked gate at the end of the road and went on foot up the forest roads with some excellent views across back to Dom Dom and the Cathedrals.

The track wound back and forth between the tall gums and fern filled gulleys and eventually we found ourselves at the helicopter clearing, a large cleared grassy area where we relaxed for a bit before exploring further.

There was a sign on the ground indicating that the track was clossed due to logging, but that would have been in reference to the walking track along Road Eight, which we didn't intend following. Our notes indicated two ways to approach Cleft Rock from the hilltop, one from the corner of the clearing, and the second from a walking track that ran along the edge of the clearing.

Neither provided successful. the forest had well and truly reclaimed the walking track, though we did find an occasional track marker there was no sign of any path. I may come back on a more adventurous day, armed with machette and a full day to battle the forest but we had to give up. The walks from Siseman's Melbourne's Mountains are largely falling into disrepair.

We rested in the clearing again, chatting to some walkers from the Diamond Valley Walking Club as Liam licked his wounds from battling the forest.

We continued back down the way we had come, and once at the car headed off in search of somewhere for lunch.

We passed the roadside puddle we had found on a previous trip full of tadpoles, and stopped to collect a new supply. They were smaller this time but we managed to collect a few for our water fountain back home.

I decided that we would have lunch at Keppel Lookout, and we set up our BBQ on the picnic table over looking the views of the Steavenson Valley.

The kids played with the frisbee on the top of the lookout after lunch as I sat back and enjoyed the views.